Google Ads Smart Bidding, Strategies and Why Should You Use It?

Google Ads can be a daunting place for newcomers. Navigating the interface and mastering all of its features takes time, patience and an understanding of how Google’s ad platform works.

Undoubtedly, it is easy to lose money in paid advertising because of some simple mistakes while getting used to the platform. Even the smallest of mistakes can cost you so much in time and money, which is why it is important to stay on a budget when pursuing your ambitions. This is where smart bidding comes into place!

Thankfully, one feature that makes AdWords much easier is Smart Bidding – which will let you control your bids on keywords without fiddling around with individual settings for each keyword or campaign in different ways to save valuable time while still getting more clicks per dollar spent than before. That being said, it is not a flawless system that protects the day to day business owners from making costly mistakes and spending a small fortune without knowing what they’re doing with a smart bidding strategy implementation.

Google Ads Smart Bidding



Smart Bidding is an automated bid strategy that uses machine learning to maximise conversions. Google looks at historical search behaviour and contextual data for each query – including location, time of day, user devices- to predict the likelihood of conversion before bidding higher when it thinks there might be one.

Google has been making some major strides in the world of advertising over recent years. They have incorporated several machine learning features into their platform, and we are now at a point where you can create campaigns with Google Ads, and they will optimise everything for you!

Thanks to these new innovations from Google, advertisers no longer need to worry about guessing what keywords or bids work best – it’s all automatic thanks to smart bidding algorithms that allow them to do less but get more results.


Let’s look at 6 of the main automated bidding strategies that Google has in its repertoire.

Maximise Conversions

Maximize Conversions in Google Ads

With conversion tracking enabled, you can set your daily budget while trying to generate the most conversions. The algorithm will then choose the cost-per-click (CPC) bids based on this goal.

However, it is important to enable conversion tracking with this goal otherwise you could incur a lot of wasted spend in some cases and not have enough clicks for conversions at all when it is needed most!

Another thing to note when using max conversions is to ensure you keep on top of your budgets. Often you will be increasing your budgets a lot when utilising target CPA or target ROAS, but not actually hitting your given daily budget due to these ROAS or CPA targets. Be careful not to leave this budget in place when switching back to max conversions bidding as Google will take the overinflated budget with both hands and spend it willingly.

Target CPA (Cost per Acquisition)

Target CPA Google Ads

Conversions are great, but profitability is the final goal for any ad campaign. Here, you set a target cost per conversion and you’ll get conversions within your budget limit! Sounds perfect, right? Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about overspending! Google is there for you to control your spending limit. This is one of our favourite automated bid strategies and it’s generally one of the first questions on our fact finds when doing an onboarding or marketing plan.

Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)

Target ROAS in Google Ads

This strategy predicts the target ROAS and adjusts your keyword bids accordingly. You can define a min-max bid range, but this does restrict you somewhat in terms of flexibility. It’s always a wise idea to start out with low ROAS before gradually increasing it to boost your overall return on investment (ROI). Target ROAS strategies claim to only spend your budget when on track to hit your target ROAS. This generally is true but it’s always a good idea to try and safeguard your account from spending crazy with some automated rules.

Maximise Clicks

Maximize Clicks in Google Ads

With this strategy, Google will generate as many clicks as possible for you while spending all that day’s allocated budget. This strategy could be best if it is a brand awareness campaign and not conversions (aka sales). Moreover, with this approach, it is important to set some boundaries by setting bid limits so you know when a targeted goal has been achieved in terms of generating impressions and maximising unique visitors or time spent on site.

It may also help to monitor average CPC rates over time rather than just focusing on max CPB bids because there may come a point where optimisation should take place either due to changes in surrounding market conditions or campaign performance metrics such as CTR/CTR%.

Target Impression Share

With the addition of a new option for advertisers to set their target impression share, Google will adjust bids to achieve your goal. Setting this max bid limit is important because it gives the algorithm a better chance at predicting optimised bids which can prevent any overspending by you or Google.

You can bid for several ad positions: Absolute top of page | Top of Page | Anywhere On The Page

Depending on your preference, Google will predict keyword bids and then aims to achieve your target impression share.

Cost per Thousand Viewable Impressions (vCPM)

This strategy allows advertisers to bid for impressions whenever their ad is displayed in a viewable space. Ads must be on screen for one second or longer to qualify as “Viewed” according to Google, and you can identify if your ads are being shown in the right places by reading placements reports.


When Google Ads first introduced smart bidding I have to admit, I wasn’t sold by it. But over time, smart bidding strategies have become the norm and most of the time, if you don’t use it, you are setting your campaigns up to fail.

The biggest downside we find at Move Ahead Media is that switching between 2 automated bidding strategies can often take a fair bit of time to settle when cycling through learning periods or Google just trying to get to grips with your account data.

Also, there seems to be a few unwritten rules, which if you don’t work in the industry daily or get the insights that Premier Partners do. You could make costly mistakes or have to find these out by yourself, which no doubt would be an expensive journey.


Why Use a Smart Bidding Strategy

Time Saver

Smart bidding can save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to your Google Ads campaigns. Not only will automated bids help you avoid the stress that often accompanies manual bidding, but they will also allow for more efficient results as well!

More Data, Better Result

Data-driven marketing is the future, but it takes time to gather all that data. AdWords smart bidding needs data to get going, and the more you gather it, the better your system works. It is a beautiful cycle of growth–the company gets smarter as people use their product which in turn makes those people want to keep using it because they see how well it functions!

It is Great for Seasonal Times

Black Friday and Christmas is a great time for marketers. And, if you’re prepared with AdWords smart bidding, your business can thrive in this season without ever having to worry about the manual adjustments that are difficult when things get hectic.

Flexible Performance Controls

Google Ads has a lot of potential for businesses and companies – you can set your own goals, customise settings to optimise results based on those objectives, and all while not having to worry about overpaying. Google offers advertisers the ability (through AdWords) to create custom campaigns that will be tailored specifically around their business needs- from location targeting options through audience or keyword selection profiles.

You have complete control over how much you are willing to spend to reach out to customers who might find what they are looking for because Google smart bidding allows self-managed bidding which means as long as someone is clicking on ads then the money spent isn’t wasted by paying more just so an ad shows up higher above others

Transparent Reporting of Performance

With the power of data analytics, you will be able to keep track of your campaigns like never before. You will not miss a thing with easy-to-read reports and alerts that let you know what’s going on at all times!


A Smarter Way to Bid

With smart bid algorithms in place to generate the best bids, you can spend less time trying to find a balance between maximising your campaign goals and not blowing through the budget. Smart Bidding is amazing at determining which bid will maximise your marketing campaigns.

By turning this heavy lifting over to machines we give ourselves more time for other important work like further optimising key advertising elements.

To Conclude

Do we love having Smart Bidding in our strategies? Yes and no… Google has kind of forced our hand into it and it works for the most part. But it can be a tricky journey of constant and long periods of testing. It’s also a bit of a minefield of which is the best strategy for your business so it’s best to talk to the experts to help you navigate it.

If you are struggling with which strategy to choose, then book a free consultation with one of our Google Ads experts and we can work together on your bid strategy and how to use smart bidding to reach your ultimate business goals!

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